Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) will power the Asus PadFone X mini, a smartphone-tablet hybrid that will be sold for $200 without a contract exclusively on the AT&T network. With this move, the chipmaker finally gets a break in the U.S. smartphone market, says a report from CNET.
Small but vital win for Intel
With the move, the chipmaker has made a small but significant move to become an authorized supplier of chips to mobile devices. For the first time, Intel chips will be used in the United States for a smartphone with high-speed 4G LTA wireless technologies. At present, the company lags behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line of processors.
Although the company reins the PC and server system, it is a minor shareholder in the mobile chip industry dominated by Qualcomm. Penetration of Intel chips in processors and modems has not been very significant except for the Samsung Galaxy smartphone in Europe and Asia, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S tablet in the United States. Primarily, Intel chips are only being used in tablets after the company offers subsidies to manufacturers as part of the deals.
Hermann Eul, vice president of Intel’s mobile and communications business, said in an interview that they are expecting a lot from the product. “It is important for us that we could check off being in the U.S., being on the AT&T network — so these are important milestones for us.”
Long way to go
The Intel-powered Asus device will be available on AT&T’s GoPhone prepaid plan starting Oct. 24. The device will be sold at AT&T’s retail locations and several national retailers such as Target, Walmart, Amazon, Fry’s and Tiger Direct. The Asus device will come packed with both Intel’s XMM 7160 LTE modem and Atom processor. Asus is following the Russian Nesting Doll strategy for its devices, as the 4.5-inch smartphone can be integrated into a 7-inch tablet, offering two screen sizes in one device.
As of now, the chipmaker has achieved very little and needs to expand its operation rapidly in the industry. Yesterday, the company posted a loss of $1 billion in the unit despite overall revenue and profit marginally exceeding expectation.
Both parties have a long way to go, actually, as Asus does not hold a significant market in the U.S. and Intel is still far from offering chips to the flagship models of the market leaders such as Samsung Electronics or Apple.